Level Me

A succession of shrill rings jolted Julie from her mundane dream. Her left eye barely opened to a slit as she reached for the phone, put it to her ear and uttered, “Yeah?”

“I’ve done it.” Whispered a gruff voice on the other end of the line.

“Hey, is this Dimitri? My friend who lives just down the hall but I haven’t seen in months?”

The line went silent.

“I’m sorry, Julie, I’ve been busy. I can’t explain it, you’ll have to come down and see for yourself.”

“Have you been drinking again? What is it you’ve done?” Julie mumbled as she rubbed her eyes and propped herself up in bed.

“I haven’t had as much as a glass of merlot in weeks. Please, just come down.” Dimitri pleaded.

Julie grunted as she jammed the phone down onto the cradle, flung open the covers and crawled out of bed. She tied the belt on her white terry cloth robe, squinting at the hallway’s painfully bright lights as she closed her apartment door.

As she made her way down the hall to Dimitri’s door her legs felt stiff and heavy. She was growing concerned with what she might find on the other side. He was a completely different person since his fiancee had gone missing a little over a year ago. It was obvious that he and Crystal were crazy in love. For the first few months Dimitri was so consumed with finding her that he lost his dream job as a programmer with Google. Another month passed and he had become a full fledged recluse.

Julie rapped gently at his door with one knuckle and pressed her right eye to the peephole. She heard the click of the deadbolt as Dimitri quickly opened the door. A wall of stench hit her as she crossed the threshold so sour that almost made her wretch. Dimitri looked ashen, as though he’d aged ten years since she last saw him.

His eyes stared through her, he began speaking in rapid clips. “It took so long...because all I had to work with was a few voicemails...a handful...of pictures...I found.” Dimitri clicked the button on his mouse and a beam of light appeared in the middle of the dark and cluttered room. Suddenly a three-dimensional image of Crystal stood before them. The hologram looked so much like Crystal that Julie’s first inclination was to hug her but her second notion was to backhand her and demand an explanation as to where the hell she’d been.

Crystal was smiling in the sunshine as a light breeze blew her auburn hair. She reached in the deep pocket of her chambray sundress, unfolded a piece of paper and began to speak, “Level me with one glance, as you look over your shoulder and smile sweetness with your eyes.” Dimitri was silently mouthing the words to the poem as Crystal continued, “Our years are a dance only just begun. Yet I know in some distant time when the days grow short I will chuckle with content as we sip our tea with a dust of a million miles on our feet and I know this life was lived complete, my Dear.”

Julie carefully stepped over a tangle of wires to embrace Dimitri as his tears soaked her shirt through.

“She wrote that for me, Julie. This took me months of programming but this is the precise moment I fell in love with her. Now I never have to let her go. Code is poetry too you know, now she’s made of it.”